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Sci Rep. 2016 Mar 10;6:23019. doi: 10.1038/srep23019.

Predictors of surgical outcome in thoracic ossification of the ligamentum flavum: focusing on the quantitative signal intensity.

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Department of Spinal Surgery, The Third Hospital of Hebei Medical University, Shijiazhuang, Hebei, People's Republic of China.


The association between intramedullary increased signal intensity (ISI) on T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and surgical outcome in thoracic ossification of the ligamentum flavum (OLF) remains controversial. We aimed to determine the impact of signal change ratio (SCR) on thoracic OLF surgical outcomes. We retrospectively reviewed 96 cases of thoracic OLF surgery and investigated myelopathy severity, symptom duration, MRI and computed tomographic findings, surgical technique and postoperative recoveries. Surgical outcomes were evaluated according to the modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) score and recovery rate. JOA recovery rate <50% was defined as a poor surgical outcome. By multivariate logistic regression analysis, we identified risk factors associated with surgical outcomes. Forty patients (41.7%) had a recovery rate of <50%. In receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves, the optimal preoperative SCR cutoff value as a predictor of poor surgical outcome was 1.54. Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed that a preoperative SCR ≥1.54 and symptom duration >12 months were significant risk factors for a poor surgical outcome. These findings suggest that preoperative SCR and duration of symptoms were significant risk factors of surgical outcome for patients with thoracic OLF. Patients with preoperative SCR ≥1.54 can experience poor postoperative recovery.

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